Saturday, December 27, 2008

Pinger Phone - iPhone App

iPhoneImage by La Ignorancia Mata via FlickrI have discovered one of the coolest iPhone apps since I have had the device. The app is called Pinger Phone and, of course, is free.

The Pinger Phone app allows you to see updates from your friends/contacts no matter what tool you use to follow them. Pinger Phone supports Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Google Talk, Yahoo Messenger, MSN Messenger and AIM. Imagine only having to visit one app on your iPhone to see what your friends on Facebook are doing - what your fellow Tweeters are saying and chat with your co-workers on Google Talk??

Here is a link to Pinger Phones site:

Thank you Pinger Phone for providing the coolest and most useful app I have downloaded for my phone.


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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Articles of Interest and Updated Video Channel

Description unavailableImage by moominsean via FlickrHere are some ed tech articles of interest I came across today:

Also, I have uploaded new videos of the MC Connection (our district's TV and Internet series) to my You Tube channel. Check them out here:

Finally, if you are a School CIO/CTO/Director - please join the Ning Social Network created by Henry Thiele from IL.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Devices 4 Students

iPhone 3G vs HTC TYTN IIImage by Sarah Deforche via FlickrYou hear it more and more these days: One-to-One initiatives, mobile devices, mini devices, etc. - all ideas and ways to put devices in the hands of students. Is there a golden solution out there? I don't think so. But I do believe the industry has adapted and the idea of every student utilizing some sort of device to enhance their educational experience is becoming more of a reality.

I know of districts that have implemented full blown one-to-one initiatives with laptops. Obviously, the big hurdle for these districts was upfront cost and recurring costs. They found a way to clear these obstacles and make it a reality in their district. This is simply not the solution for everyone though. Too many districts will never have the upfront cash (especially in these economic times) and struggle to maintain their existing inventory.

So then the question turns to the "other" devices. Minis, PDAs and (gasp) cell phones.

Are the Mini devices the answer to putting a device in every students hand? I think it is too early to answer that question. It is obvious we have cut the price point by 60% and have a device that is designed for the "cloud computing" concept. Our district is in the final phase of evaluation. We have placed a Dell Mini Inspiron 9 in the hands of nearly 50 students, 20 faculty and several administrators. I have heard nothing but rave reviews and this is encouraging. However, to have the conversation of placing a Mini in the hands of every secondary student (at least for my district) you are still talking near 1 million dollars. Now we could have the argument that placing one in every students hand is wasted computing power and to some extent I do agree with that - so I am not looking to place a device in every students hand - merely make it accessible to them.

So if Mini devices are not quite the solution yet - what is? I have heard rumblings of districts working to find a solution to image iTouch devices. Wow...what a concept. Imagine a high school where every student has an iTouch device. (Obviously the school would need excellent wireless coverage - which fortunately ours does have.) Now your price point is $199. And for a school of 1,500 students that equals just under $300,000. Now we can have a conversation. Would an iTouch serve as a workable, usable device for high school students? Think of the possibilities within the App store!?! There are still some obvious limitations - you would want to somehow monitor/control the use of iTunes and ensure it was being utilized for educational purposes. But imagine if students could take notes, browse the web, post to their blog, communicate with peers and share content from their iTouch.

Is this a far fetched fantasy? I certainly do not believe so. The time is coming when all students will be connected and communicating via a device during the hours of 8am-3pm - and not relying on pencil and paper.


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Friday, December 12, 2008

TETC - Nashville, TN

Nashville, TennesseeImage via WikipediaI had the opportunity to attend the TETC event this week in Nashville, TN. I had set the bar high for this event in hopes they would make up for last year's sub-par event. Bravo to the organizers for this year's event, because they met the challenge. While attendance may have plateaued, the variety of sessions and vendors provided for a worthwhile conference. Here is a highlight of what I saw:

So You Want to Implement Small Learning Communities
Newton Roland, Nashville Public School

Mr. Roland spoke about how he had used the concept of an SLC to create an environment for 21st century learning. He provided the steps he took in creating the SLC and how he built relationships with local businesses, parents and community members to ensure the success of his SLC.

Business Continuity Planning for Education
Jim Kennedy, BCDR

Mr. Kennedy spoke of solutions and a road map for creating a business continuity plan to ensure the integrity of a district's data and key technology tools. He spoke to how school districts are completely dependant upon technology and data for our day to day operations that it is imperative we have a plan in place should disaster strike.

Data Collection and Analysis for RTI Reading
Debbie D'Angelo

Web 2.0 or 3.0?
Carrie Thorntwaite

I also saw the latest products and software from the following vendors:

Southern Business Communications
Absolute Software
Oki Printing Solutions

TETC renewed my interest in attending the event next year - and I am planning on bringing more of my team (budget willing) to experience this growing event.


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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Top 20 Free Web Apps for Teachers

Top 20 Free Web Applications for Teachers

From: scyuen,
10 months ago

A presentation presented at the MECA 2008 Conference, Jackson, MS

SlideShare Link

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Articles of Interest and New Sites

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...Image by via CrunchBaseHere are a few reads I came across today:

5 Steps to cut IT budgets...

iPhone driving smart phone growth...

Ohio school district wants bailout money too...

Doctor performs amputation by text message...

Here a couple of new sites I was introduced to:

People Browsr - keep track of all your Tweets plus You Tube groups, Flickr followers and more. Thanks to ujdmc for sharing.

A new blog I am following -

Finally, here is my You Tube channel, which includes several videos produced in our district.


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Tuesday, December 2, 2008


This first video link is from the NSBA T+L conference where I received an award. The reception was filmed as is now available to view on Tech and Learning's website. The article will be coming out in their December issue.

The second video is our latest production in the school district - MC Connection. MC Connection is a weekly show where we discuss educational issues within the district and schools.

Click here for the first episode and second episode.


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Monday, December 1, 2008

Google Voice Search

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...Image by via CrunchBaseWhen I first heard of this addition to the Google App on the iPhone, I was ecstatic. I posted multiple times on Twitter about the updates and the forth coming update. I then read the update was delayed and became discouraged we wouldn't see this update before the New Year.

Ahh...but how Google proved me wrong and I am grateful for it. The Google Voice Search is an app that changes the way people use their iPhone. There are not many apps that can make that claim. All along one of the "complaints" against the iPhone has been the keyboard (or lack their of) and having to use the screenboard. While I have adjusted my texting and typing technique on mobile devices, others have not been as lucky. Imagine an app that takes the keyboard out of the equation? An app that allows you to harness the power of Google with your voice? It is real and it is powerful.

I have even tried to "trick" the voice search. Purposefully trying to confuse it with difficult words. While I have tricked the app a couple of times, more often than not - it gives me what I am searching for.

Google got this one right.


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Sunday, November 16, 2008

iPhone - Part II (Apps)

The iPhoneImage via WikipediaIt has been nearly six weeks since I provided my initial blog/thoughts on the iPhone. I still believe this device to be the premier device available to provide communication, messaging, 3G quality (in applicable areas) and its main advantage - the apps. Here are a few apps that I use on a daily basis and could not survive without (all of these apps are FREE):

  • Ping Lite - Pint Lite allows you to Ping, Telnet and Traceroute IP addresses within your network. I have found this app extremely beneficial while at the office or at a school and needing to quickly test whether an IP is online.
  • Twitterific - This is the ultimate mobile Twitter app in my opinion. It is easy to use, allows you to post your location, pics and quickly view tweets from your favorite tweeterites.
  • AirMe - Do you use Flickr? If so - this app is a must for you. AirMe allows you to take pictures within its app and if you approve of the pic - automatically upload the pic to your Flickr photostream.
  • AroundMe - This app is a must for trying to find restaurants, pubs, hotels, gas stations, etc. if you are in your own town or traveling. I have used AroundMe in Nashville, Louisville, Frankfort, Seattle and even in the small towns of Western KY.
  • Fring - Fring allows you IM with your contacts from Yahoo, MSN, Google Talk, ICQ, and many more. The ultimate app for those who IM on a regular basis and have multiple contact lists.
  • GasBag - GasBag provides real-time data on the gas stations around your location with the cheapeast gas prices. This app relies on its users to update cheaper gas prices when they find them.
  • i.TV - Put in your zip code and cable/satellite provider and you can view television listings from your iPhone. This app has promised the ability to view tv shows in the near future - keep your eyes on this one.
  • Facebook / MySpace - I am constantly trying to keep both of my social networking sites up to date, while staying in touch with friends and family. These apps allow me to do that - no matter where I am. Facebook gets the nod for ease of use and display of information.
I still wish the iPhone had the ability for MMS messaging. That is my only complaint at this point - nearly four months as a satisfied iPhone user.


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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Articles and Video

Here are a couple of interesting Ed Tech articles I came across today:

T+L To Educators: Embrace Change

Six Money Saving Secrets To Help Save Your Tech Budget

Also - our district recently put together a public relations video for the purpose of teacher recruitment. Our high school media teacher and his students did an outstanding job of taking the idea and making it real.

Click here to view the video.

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Dell Inspiron Mini 9

Dell Inspiron Mini 9Image by sugree via FlickrA few months ago I had the opportunity to view HP's Mini Device (HP 2133). My review was fair, but probably not favorable for the device. This week I have had the chance to look over Dell's version - the Inspiron Mini 9. Here are my thoughts:

  • The Atom Processor is far superior to HP's processor. Standard - 1GB of RAM and a 16GB solid state HD provide sufficient computing power for this device. I was able to run multiple applications without any noticeable glitches.
  • The fact that the device basically has no moving parts internally - means it is more durable, gives off little to no heat and provides a more durable device.
  • I do like that the Dell device gives you the option to include a web cam. I see students being able to use this feature for online collaboration and communication.
  • The keyboard is still too small for my initial liking, but it is probably something that I would grow accustomed to using.
Overall I have found this device to be superior to its HP counterpart. I believe these devices are a step in the right direction for school districts who wish to provide their students portable devices for the purpose of research, communication, collaboration and basic word processing - at a price point that doesn't break the bank.

We are continuing to evaluate the device at a district level - testing is being done not only by our technicians, but their children are testing it as well. We also plan to "pass it around" a couple of our middle schools, allowing both teachers and students the opportunity to use the device in a "real world" setting.

Should all of our testing continue to be positive, we will make plans to purchase the Dell Inspiron Mini 9 and implement in our schools after Christmas break.


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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Articles of Interest

fog & cloudImage by Grant MacDonald via FlickrIt's Election Day...and in a few short hours our country will have a new leader. honor of election day here are some reads in regards to educational technology and politics.

McCain and Obama Share Basic Views on Ed. Tech.

Obama calls for Ed-Tech Investment

Obama to name CTO

No matter which man is elected president - I hope and pray that he is a man of his word, defends our country with integrity, begins rebuilding our economy and is remembered for the great things he did - not the mistakes he made.

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Saturday, November 1, 2008

Microsoft's Live@edu

Image representing Microsoft as depicted in Cr...Image via CrunchBaseI have the privilege of serving on our state's Active Directory / Exchange Advisory committee. This committee is made up of CIOs, state level networking team members and state level customer service managers. The charge of the committee is to evaluate and recommend a new solution for Kentucky's K-12 Exchange enviroment. (Along with where AD falls into the conversation.)

While I cannot get into details of our discussions and share information from our meetings - I can mention (because it is not a big secret) that we are currently evaluating Microsoft's Live@edu solution. I must admit that I was the first person who was skeptical of a hosted email solution. What we would do if our Internet pipe was lost? How would we retreive backups? What sort of redundant solution was in place? Those were all questions going through my head when I first learned this was a possible solution.

However, in the past week I have not only viewed a demonstration of the Live@edu solution and all its tools, applications and capabilities, but also been able to test it out myself. Here is my two cents on the solution:

  • Hosted email is not something our state should fear. Each user will be presented with a 10GB mailbox (possibly a bit overkill). Hardware issues in our district will no longer be an issue. Redundacny, 24x7 service and access to backups (better than our current solution) are all upgrades from our current enviornment.
  • Each user will be presented with a 5GB "Skydrive". This skydrive will allow users to post documents, images, etc. to a web folder and be able to access from anywhere in the world.
  • Users will have access to a collaborative workspace where they can blog, communicate and share ideas with other users from across the state - and beyond.
While I am still in the evaluation phase of this application - I have yet to find anything that makes me turn the other way. I believe this solution, if chosen by our committee, will provide the necessary tools for our faculty, staff and students to communication, share and live in a 21st century, digital society.

Click here to read more about Microsoft's Live@edu solution.

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Interesting Read

NCAA logoImage via WikipediaThis post strays somewhat from my usual ramblings, but I came across the article on eSchool News, so I figured I would let it slide.

As an avid sports enthusiast - I found this article extremely interesting. The article is entitled "Officials huddle on use of athletes' images". It discusses whether video game manufacturers should be able to use the likeness of college athletes in their games.

The most valid point in the article was stated by Jeremy Bloom, a former college football player and current Olympic snow skier, he said, "The No. 1 monopoly in the United States right now is the NCAA. College athletics is not amateur anymore."

You can click here to read the article in its entirety.

I personally agree with Mr. Bloom's point. Colleges and universities makes millions of NCAA tournaments, conference tournaments, regular season games, TV deals, etc. While there may be some athletes-students who get paid under the table a majority of the student-athletes never see a penny in college. And in fact, are unable to get a job - thus they must nickel and dime their way through college.

Student athletes should be compensated for their contributions to the university. Be it through the millions made off video games, endorsements, television/radio/shoe deals or simply the gate admissions from a 100,000 seat stadium.


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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

NSBA T+L / Seattle / Tech & Learning Award

City of SeattleImage via WikipediaI have had the opportunity to be in Seattle, WA the past 36 hours to attend the NSBA T+L conference. A huge thanks to Tech & Learning for the opportunity.

First, Seattle is an awesome town. I just wish I had the opportunity to spend more time here. I stayed at the Westin downtown (excellent recommendation) - with a great view of the Space Needle. I was able to walk around downtown today - explore a few luxury shops, drink some coffee from Starbucks and enjoy some fine dining and excellent micro brews.

The NSBA T+L conference had some quality sessions. I was able to attend a few sessions on Tuesday afternoon: net Trekker d.i., collaborative tools and the classroom and a session on server virtualization/consolidation (which I was able to provide information on what our district has done). I also browsed the exhibit hall and had the opportunity to speak with Infinite Campus CEO Charlie Kratsch - we discussed the ongoing implementation in KY and his continuing plans for evolving this tool.

Finally, the trip culminated with a reception by Tech & Learning, net Trekker d.i., Atomic Learning and Qwizdom. The reception was to honor educational technology leaders throughout the nation. I was extremely fortunate and humbled to be selected as one of the top four Leaders of the Year - the Administrator Leader of the Year. The other winners were outstanding and to be in the same room and the same group as them was quite an honor. Check out Tech and Learning's website for updates and hopefully a video stream of the reception.

Click here to view my Flickr photos from the trip.

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Articles of Interest

Here are a few interesting ed tech reads I came across today:

Essential Strategies for Leading a Technology Department

Vista SP2 to release more beta...

20 websites you never realized you needed

Digital TV implications on school districts

Our state organization for technology leaders (KySTE) held an event yesterday for new CIOs in Frankfort, KY. The event was extremely successful with vendor partners, state leaders and veteran CIOs participating to share a wealth of knowledge on both technical and instructional items. Thanks to all for assisting in making this training a success!


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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cool Tools

Math - Teacher EducationHere are two cool tools I came across today:

The first is a micro-blogging site that was built for use by teachers and students. Edmodo is a site that was built with student privacy in mind. It allows teachers and students to safely and securely share notes, links and files. Teachers also have the ability to send alerts, events and assignments to teachers.

I have evaluated this tool over the weekend and found it extremely user friendly and functional while providing excellent setup instructions for both teachers and students.

Teacher Setup Instructions

Student Setup Instructions

Edmodo also recently added a grading system and assignment turn-in feature.

This free tool provides all the necessary items for teachers and students to share, discuss, collaborate and extend the walls of learning beyond the classroom.

Click here for a brief video on how to use Edmodo. (Note: scroll to the bottom of the page.)

Another cool tool I came across this weekend is Remember the Milk. I was looking for an online place where I could store various pieces of information such as tasks, reminders, lists, etc. But I wanted other people to have access to these lists and be able to update them also. Remember the Milk is a great tool for iPhone users as it syncs with your iCalendar.

Click here for Remember the Milk's website.


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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Social Networking

Image representing MySpace as depicted in Crun...I heard a comment the other day that teenagers now access social networking sites more than anything else (including adult sites). This has become the world they live in. Today's student uses Facebook, MySpace or one of the other up and coming sites to blog, post pictures, connect with friends and sometimes communicate with complete strangers. They put their most intimate details available for all the world to see. While I am a proponent of these sites and will continue to preach their value to education as a whole (as long as the users abide by the moral rules), there is one glarring topic I would like to address: Student / Teacher interaction on these sites.

While these sites are most popular with teenagers, there are many young teachers who are just recently out of college or grew up using these sites - who post their lives on the web as well. I have a MySpace page. While my page and its content is private and only available to my 97 friends, what if I received a friend request from a student at the high school or a player who I coached in soccer? This is where the line of social networking and education/schools needs to be drawn. While I believe these sites allow our students to be creative, communicate and share information - this type of interaction with their teachers, coaches or administrators is not acceptable. It should be the adults who are intelligent enough to communicate this expectation to their students. If our teachers emphasized the value of social networking, while also pointing out its potential dangers and barriers - I believe our students would embrace it.

Student / teacher interaction on social networking sites has made national news. A majority of the time it is the teacher who is the predator and seeking some sort of intimate interaction with his/her students. However, sometimes the interaction can be that of a student finding pictures, videos or other information about their teacher/coach/administrator that would be damning to someone's career. Educators must be intelligent about the information they place on these sites and ensuring they are secure for only friends to view.

Here is an interesting read w/ feedback about student/teacher relationships on social networking sites:

Here is an article that I read early today on eSchool News that prompted my post above.

Social Networking has transformed our ability to communicate, share and inform. Let's continue to educate our users (both young and old) on how to responsibly use this tool to enhance our daily lives.


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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Visionapp Remote Desktop

Terminal ServicesFor those of you who manage large numbers of computers on your network, a remote management tool can quickly become your best friend. While Windows Remote Desktop is nice and serves its purpose, it certainly does not provide you the organization, control and flexibility like Visionapp Remote Desktop.

I started using this application several months ago and would now confidently recommend it to all. This application has allowed me to organize my connections and open multiple remote desktop sessions within a single window (using tabs).

Click here for screen capture of Visionapp.

Click here to download Visionapp (free) for use in your environment. I am confident it will improve your organization and effectiveness for remote access.


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Saturday, October 4, 2008


My iPhone's Home ScreenAs my friend has provided updates on the use of his iPhone on his blog - - I figured I would provide an update on the use of my iPhone over the past 2 months.

  • While I have had people tell me to the contrary, I have been impressed with the battery life of my iPhone. On average I go 16-18 hours before charging and the battery still has life. I actually went nearly 36 hours one day before the phone died on me. (I just was curious how long it would last.)
  • App Store - I have found the App Store not only entertaining, but also providing tools useful for my job. Ping Lite, Remote Desktop Lite and Google have all been useful during the course of my business day. I have also used apps such as Brain Tuner, Sudoku and iWant for entertainment value. The neatest app I have came across thus far was shown to me last week and I just couldn't wait to download it - Zippo Lighter.
  • Keyboard - This was one of my initial concerns because of the keyboard being on the screen. However after a few days of typing and the phone starting to remember commonly used words I use - I was able to type as quickly as I used to on my Palm Treo 750.
  • Maps/GPS - I have used this feature several times while navigating in Nashville, TN, and while visiting friends in TN a couple of weeks ago. I was impressed with accuracy of the GPS as well as the iPhones ability to provide accurate directions to my requested location. Forget my request for Tom Tom for Christmas.
  • WiFi / 3G - When I use my phone connected to a WiFi (work, home, other location) or the 3G network (when I was in Nashville) - I could do anything (Safari, mail, iTunes, App Store, etc.) as quickly as I wanted to. This speed is as good as advertised. (See below for comments on the Edge network.)

  • Lacks of MMS messaging. I do find it inconvenient if I take photo and need to send it to someone - I have to use my email rather than text messaging.
  • Edge Network - while I do not live in a 3G area - it is slow to use my Internet, App Store and impossible to use iTunes.
  • Camera - I did expect a higher quality camera on the iPhone. While I am able to use this feature, I guess my expecations were for more megapixels.
Overall, this purchase has been one of best investments of the past few years. This phone is more than a phone - it is a tool that allows its owner to communicate, share, collaborate and create. The iPhone is the premier smartphone available on the market.


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Monday, September 29, 2008

Update on Server Virtualization Project

Rack-width sliding keyboard & monitor with equ...We are in the final phase of our server virtualization project. The hardware has been rack mounted, OS installed, switches / VLANs configured and VM Ware installed. We have three Dell 2950 servers which will server as the brain - hosting the virtual servers. We also have a Dell AX 4/5 SAN storage solution with nearly 8TB of free storage. By the end of this week my Network Administrator will have had hands on experience managing the virtual environment, moving a server from physical to virtual (or P to V) and instruction on how to use Virtual Console. At the end of week 2 we should have all necessary servers migrated to the new solution and begin to wrap up the project by tweaking the necessary settings and any last minute training.

Once the project is complete our new server room will house all existing servers other than our state owned boxes and core router, a dedicated cooling unit and backup generator. We also have plans to utilize to of our existing servers as offsite backup solutions. One will be housed on our existing campus (just in a different building) and the other will be at our new middle school. Our goal is that this solution will provide a more effecient means of doing business, reliable backups, disaster recovery, more storage space and centralized environment where all data is easily accessible.


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Monday, September 22, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

"Clicker" Article

Interesting read on students who use "clickers" score better on physics tests.


Monday, September 15, 2008


Oh how we depend on the sweet nectar known as electricity. The past 27 hours I have been without power both at my home and at my office. It is amazing how much we (I) depend on that electricity to keep us connected. I have had limited cell service around my house and the office. I am typing now at my parent's house and their DSL connection (didn't I leave that about 5 months ago?)

The past 24 hours have really showed my dependency on technology. I have been unable to check work email, unable to do anything at our office, able to make phones calls intermittently. Technology is a great tool...when it is available to us. But if you become dependent on technology and it controls your life...then it is temporarily taken from will go crazy.


Saturday, September 13, 2008


Over the course of the past 4 years, 2 months and 13 days that I have served as Chief Information Officer for the MCSD - I have attended some excellent/worthwhile conferences and I have attended conferences that made me want to gouge my eyes. What is the purpose of an IT conference? Is it to interact and discuss topics with vendors? Find new solutions you can implement in your organization? Share ideas with colleagues? Attend the cutting edge session on a new gadget, gizmo or solution?

I often find myself perusing the conference agenda weeks in advance trying to find that one session, that one booth that will make the difference. After all if my district is willing to spend hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars to send me (and my team members) to these events - isn't it my responsibility to provide something in return? This year that is my challenge, not only for me personally, but for my team members - "Attend a Conference - and Make a Difference." Don't just attend the conference to get a vacation from your job, to attend the social functions (which are enjoyable), or to get free t-shirts - attend the conference to enhance your job, learn a new skill, find the innovative and cutting edge tool that will increase student learning in your building.

These are the conferences I currently plan to attend this year (subject to change, of course). Should anyone out there know of a conference that can impact student learning, provide solutions and is on the cutting edge - let me know.

October 24th, 2008
New DTC / CIO Training (KY Specific)
Frankfort, KY - Capital Plaza Hotel
More Information (

The purpose of the New DTC / CIO training is to provide information (both technical and instructional) to new technology leaders in our state. They will receive an overview on various topics and have the opportunity to interact and ask questions with our state leaders, vendors and behind the scenes personnel.

November 20-21, 2008
Lexington, KY
More information (

This conference will be new to me. A new role in my job this year is managing our district's public relations. I felt attending the KY Public Relations conference will help provide me ideas on how to enhance that role. I hope to make connections, ask questions and share my brief experience with people who have more experience and perhaps some words of wisdom in the area of PR.

December 10-12, 2008
Nashville, TN
More information (Click here)

The TETC (or Tennessee Educational Technology Conference) is a conference I have attended for three of the last four years. I began attending this conference because of its close proximity. (Nashville is a mere 1 hour and 45 minute drive.) The first two years I attended this event, it was full of vendors, excellent sessions and interesting technology leaders. However, last year the attendance (both from a participant and vendor standpoint) was down. I left disappointed and felt I gained little value from this event. I am planning to give the TETC another opportunity to provide me and a few of my district personnel with some ideas, tools and information to improve our district. Don't let me down again TETC.

January 21-22, 2009
IC Interchange
Louisville, KY (Galt House)
More information (click here)

The Infinite Campus Interchance is an opportunity for KY districts to share, discuss and update users on how the implementation of our new Student Information System (SIS) is progressing. As a pilot district last year, I had the opportunity to present at two different sessions. I found it very rewarding to share my insight and experience with other districts. I hope again to be able to share my experience of this past year and our districts trials, tribulations, successes and overall feel of the Infinite Campus product.

March 4-6, 2009
Louisville, KY
More information (click here)

The Kentucky Teaching and Learning Conference was once THE great technology event for our state. (Part of this took place before my time.) Over the past few years, the event has changed and is geared less for technology leaders and more for teachers and other school personnel. Technology is still a driving force behind the conference themes and many of the sessions and vendors - but finding that session for my district technology team or school teachnology leader is becoming more of a challenge. I am able to send teachers and they find this event very worthwhile (actually this is event last year is my teacher came up with her idea for the paperless classroom that is a huge success). KTLC continues to serve as a venue for other meetings and interactions for me and my collegaues, thus I will continue to attend. I spend most of my time in the exhibit hall talking with vendors and sharing ideas and listening to new concepts. There will come a day (probably sooner than later) that I will no longer attend this event.

KySTE Summer Conference
June 2009
Location: TBA (Possible destinations are Louisville, KY; Lexington, KY and Bowling Green, KY)
More information (

This is the conference I am most excited about. This is the conference that I spoke about last June that had the most impact on me as a technology leader in the past 4+ years. I attended sessions that insipred me, forced me to think outside the box and started discussions on how to make change in our district. I interacted with vendors who assisted with this change, I heard keynote addresses (and I am not typically one for a keynote address) that had the venue been different - would have captivated the audience. This conference will become THE technology event for the state of KY. Inspired by technology leaders across the state who felt they no longer had a technology conference (see the change in KTLC above), the KySTE Summer Conference is still undergoing a radical change. With this year's event being held in a central location, thus allowing more people from across the state the opportunity to attend - combined with last year's success and the vision of the organization's leadership team - I am most excited about this event. Rest assured - I will provide information 10 months from now.

So...if you know of other events here in the Bluegrass or across this great nation that have the ability to change an organization, inspire life long learning or engage our students beyond our wildest dreams - please share with me.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Articles of Interest

A few articles worth reading that I came across today:

Test Prep Services Turn to Video Games

US Schools Must Teach 21st Century Skills For the Nation to be Globally Competitive

Windows 7: Beta 1 Tracking for Mid-December

And...just for the true geeks...

Why Isn't Ubuntu the Number 1 Operating System?



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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Paperless Classroom Update

Here is a sample of the press release we recently released for our district regarding the Paperless Classroom project:

Paperless Classroom a Success at Calvert City Elementary

When Mrs. Amanda Mott’s students walked into their classroom the first day of school they all thought they were in the computer lab, not their regular classroom. “Wow, we all have our own computer!”, exclaimed one student.

Mrs. Amanda Mott and her fourth grade students are embarking on a new way of learning this school year – a paperless classroom. Each of her 26 students has their own computer at their desk and a majority of their assignments are online. The classroom also has a projector, airliner and laser printer. The technology that made the paperless classroom so affordable is a device made by nComputing, the X300. The X300 allows up to 6 other “virtual computers” to join a host computer, thus providing a total of 7 computers for approximately the price of 4 computers.

Mrs. Mott was able to successfully launch this project with the help of area businesses. Evonik Degussa Corporation, Dr. Barry Wilson, ISP, Regions Bank, Army Reserve and Lubrizol are all area businesses who contributed to this project with donations.

When asked how this new environment affected her classroom Mrs. Mott responded, “Technology shifts the teacher’s role to that of a student-centered facilitator. The students are taking on more of the responsibility of learning, and I lecture less and aid them in finding answers instead. The information they learn instantly becomes more meaningful because they have taken part in discovering it. Have technology in a classroom is becoming a necessity. Using the computers will help them build a strong intellectual foundation and encourage higher order thinking skills, creativity and self-driven research. Students are able to publish writing in more interesting ways. We can turn writing pieces into PowerPoint and Podcasts. They get authentic reasons to write in blogs, e-mails and wikis.”

Student Sarah Knoth said, “I enjoy getting to talk to other students using ePals. Right now we are talking to other students in our class, but very soon we will be talking with students in Spain.”

One of the classroom projects Mrs. Mott’s students will be embarking on is a collaborative effort to study with students in a classroom in Spain. Mrs. Mott’s students will use the educational site, ePals, to correspond, share ideas and assignments with the Spanish class.

Student Will McGee stated, “We are using the computers to learn a new language (Spanish), so we can communicate with our new friends in Spain.”

The students have utilized an online tool through the McCracken County Public library, known as Mango, which allows them to learn Spanish. Mrs. Mott felt it would beneficial for her students to be exposed to some key Spanish words and terminology before they begin their collaboration efforts.

When Mrs. Mott was asked what inspired her to come up with the paperless classroom concept and how did she think it would have an impact on student learning, she said, “The project began last year at the Kentucky Teaching and Learning Conference. I found the nComputing company and was intrigued by their product and began researching paperless classrooms across the country. Since Day 1 of this school year, my students have been actively engaged and seem to have a new purpose and love for learning. They are able to receive immediate feedback on various activities that sometimes would take days.”

Mrs. Amanda Mott and her fourth grade students are innovators for taking learning to new level. Her students will have the opportunity to share, communicate, collaborate and problem solve in an environment not available to all students. Thanks to Mrs. Mott, these students will become digital learners.

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SQL Injection

This was an item of recent discussion in our district. I have found several useful resources for those who either wish to learn more, or have to deal with the issue.

Demonstration Video -

Articles -

I would recommend to anyone who has to deal with this issue to ensure your SQL is secure, clean and check any databases you may have running on your web server.

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Sunday, September 7, 2008

Brief Hiatus

After nearly a month away from this blog...I have found my way back. School began and I found myself emerged in numerous projects. I am finally starting to get my ahead above here goes.

One of the new tools I have downloaded and began evaluating is Google's new browser - Chrome. While I find its layout, speed and overall ease of use similar to that of Firefox - there was one item that stumbled me. It took me a couple of minutes to figure out how to get my "home" button on the address bar. That should not be an option.

Here is all content - Chrome related - from ZDNet:

Also - a fellow colleague of mine and CIO in a local school district has an excellent blog that you should check out:

Later this week I will provide an update our paperless classroom that has been in action for over a month.

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Friday, August 8, 2008


This is a blog that I was recently featured in. The blog is the Kentucky Dataseam blog and keeps those districts involved with the initiative updated on various events, trainings and happenings. It has several good reads.

Dataseam Blog

This is an interesting read I came across today on eSchoolnews - thought I would share.

Congress and Student File Sharing


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Educational Technology and Student Attention Spans

This is an article that I submitted for ISTE's Learning and Leading Magazine this month. Please read and provide any additional feedback or thoughts regarding Educational Technology and its impact on student learning.

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IT Support

This is an interesting read I came across by Dr. Bill Daggett regarding IT Support in the Education community.

More IT Support

A lack of information technology (IT) staffing is keeping schools from realizing the full benefits of technology inside and outside the classroom, according to a recent survey conducted by eSchool News and SchoolDude. The survey included nearly 1,000 school and district leaders. Little funding and the lack of a clear vision were seen as key stumbling blocks to building staff and implementing a successful technology program within the curriculum. Of those surveyed, 64% said their IT budget isn't enough to support technology assets already purchased and nearly 70% said it is not enough to meet their district's IT expectations. One respondent, a technology manager from Irving, Texas, said he has two full-time technicians serving 2,900 students, 300 teachers and administrators, and more than 1,200 computers in a six-school district, with campuses spread across suburban Dallas. This is a far cry from a typical large corporation, which tends to employ one technology support person for every 50 computers at a cost of $142 per computer per year. According to this model, a school district with 1,000 computers would need a staff of 20 and an annual tech-support budget of $1.4 million.

Part of the funding issue has to do with being able to provide a competitive wage to potential IT employees, who can make more in the private sector. Some schools have used creativity to solve their technology challenges. For example, when an IT coordinator asked teachers to help implement technology for learning, the teachers formed a team that guides, assists, and supports their colleagues. The team focuses on the curriculum as the starting point and then suggests appropriate technology to support it. (See "By the Numbers" for more statistics.)



Monday, July 21, 2008

Articles of Interest

Here are some articles that caught my attention today:

Apple offers free month of service for new iPhone users

Educators assess open content movement

New resource helps teach 21st century skills

This one is not necessarily an article, but a blog that I read on a regular basis:


Monday, July 14, 2008

Articles / Projects

It has been two weeks since my last post, but I took some vacation days and much needed time out of the office.

Here a few articles that caught my eye in the world of K-12 Education Technology:

Before switching gears to our projects - has anyone purchased the new iPhone 3G? What are your thoughts? I am debating and researching whether the move would be a good one for me. Right now I am at 70/30.

Here are the current projects my district has embarked on:

-Mobile Carts/Labs in all secondary schools.
We will have a minimum of 30-60 laptops available in all secondary schools starting this fall. The purpose of these labs is to provide enhanced educational opportunities for our students. The laptops provide real-time learning in the classroom while allowing students to research, collaborate and share content.

-Server Consolidation / Virtualization
We are in the beginning stages of bringing our 25+ district and school level servers back into a central location. The new devices will increase storage capacity for all end users, provide more reliability and ensure the quality of our backups. (We will also provide off-site backups for critical data.)

As of the end of this month all educational buildings will have full wireless coverage throughout with each building also having the capability of providing "guest services" to outside users. These guest services are secured and controlled by our district's network administration.

These are enough to keep us busy during the summer months. School starts in three weeks. Wow.


Monday, June 30, 2008


Real quick post...if you do video editing and spend several hours trying to create professional videos - then this site is for you. Animoto offers professional looking videos for free (or low cost for extended videos) and requires little work for the end user.

Check out their site here.


Articles That Caught My Attention

Rather than a review or post about a solution/product, I am going to list some articles related to Ed Tech that caught my attention over the weekend.